Scribed by Pyrrhus

Spring 1290AD

I noticed that with Mars in ascendancy we might have had a turbulent year ahead of us, although this would be tempered by Mercury's position in the sky after the first equinox, Quicksilver is an interesting element embodying fire and metal in one, being a prime its position and influence should not be underestimated.

We met in the council chamber and discussed the changes to the new charter that Jari had suggested and although it appeared not to change the spirit of the new charter it put in writing the details of expulsion of a magus which makes me wonder about his motivations for such an amendment, mayhaps he feels he might annoy us at some time to the point we may demand his expulsion. We then voted for the charter and with all in favour it was passed. The position of Princeps was then voted on and with Volutus as the only candidate he was voted into the position with a vote of four votes for and just Jari abstaining. Volutus then asked Terentius to stand as his deputy which he agreed. With no new news from the previous season we then went on to Vis distribution and monies, Terentius thought I had performed two seasons as for some reason he thought it was my first year last year, an unusual mistake for our normally solid Tremere but I quickly corrected him of that notion and checking the records confirmed my statement. The Princeps then stated that no Vim vis should be taken and that three pawns of rego should be left. I took six pawns of creo as my reward which will be useful to learn from which will assist in my creation of my longevity potion. We then took monies of a hundred and fifty silver pennies of which I gave my consor Marcellus fifty as per our agreement. As we now only had to ask permission to use a text if we intended to take it from the library I asked permission to take the text on Bacon’s powder to the alchemy laboratory to learn its secrets which was agreed to by a unanimous vote of the council. We all agreed to practice the Parma Magica in our spare time this year apart from Terentius who continued his studies of the Scottish tongue from one of the sergeants of the turb.

Volutus was about to end the meeting when Jari asked a series of questions. He asked if the bone given to use by grandfathers wolf was magical and it was retrieved from the treasury and it was detected as magical by Jari casting wizard subtle touch upon it. He then went on to ask what the Templars wanted which was an odd question to ask as the answers must of been pure speculation with no evidence to back them up. Hypathia said that we should form information links with Loch Legaen covenants especially Giants Stone to understand our enemy. She educated us a bit about the politics in Scotland and told us that Giant’s Stone where Arturius of Mercere lived was in clan Bruce territory and Glen Risdal was in the territory of clan Balliol and on the coast so easier to access. With Jari’s questions answered we all rose to leave but then Terentius asked a further question, He suggested that the spells he scribed in a past season be donated to the grand library to help in its creation and that this donation be made when we went to Blackthorn in Summer for the symposium and tribunal. Speaking of the tribunal it was asked whom we might ask for help at Roxburgh but Hypatia stated we should keep our business quiet in case our intentions were discovered by traitors to the order. Terentius then asked what might be discussed at the tribunal and although plenty of ideas were speculated upon, the honest truth was that we did not know. Again we all started to rise to leave and then Jari with a slight smirk on his face asked another question forcing us to sit again. He asked if the Popes possible corruption would corrupt the dominion, We discussed the theology of the matter but sadly admitted we did not know enough to answer this question. He then asked about the creation of longevity potions for mundanes and Volutus suggested that house Verditius might know. We all paused and waited and just as we were about to get up Jari stated that if he found some spots of interest in his exploration of the Dean that if someone could determine the nature and power of the aura there and Terentius agreed to help with Intellego Vim spells that Jari seemed to lack. Finally Jari asked to learn some skills from the royal spymaster to assist in his adventures, such skills as sneaking around and hiding but also the ability to pick a lock and create fake documents and Hypatia said she could arrange such. We waited, all looking at Jari but there were no further questions and we all stood and left the council chamber to continue our seasons studies.

Jari went to Chepstow with our spymaster Lucky Samuel and his consors Eric and Sigurd, there they came across an odd case where there had been performed two strange murders. One of the murders was of a man called Lawrence who slew a farmer he did not know called Hereward, he apparently in a fit of rage jumped on the man and repeatedly stabbed him to death then stood up as if waking from a dream and could not understand why he had done it. The second murder, which happened a few days after the first was a sergeant of the watch called Ralph who in a similar frenzy stabbed his wife to death. There were whispers of witchcraft at the trial of Ralph as he confessed his sin immediately and could not explain why he had done such a foul deed. He and Lawrence were hung the day after Ralphs trial which Jari witnessed.

Jari then came back to the covenant to report this news before returning to Chepstow to find the graves for further investigation. He discovered that Ralph had been buried in a pauper’s grave just outside the walls but Lawrence was buried in the graveyard and had been given a Christian burial. Informed of the locations of Ralph’s grave Terentius flew down to Chepstow to investigate the burial site but found nothing out of the ordinary with his magics.

Jari then continued around the Dean gathering information and establishing himself as a wandering minstrel. He happened across a similar incident that had happened in Monmouth in 1290 when a miner from Coleford called Athelard attacked a man called Thomas for no reason. Roughly at the same time, Lucky reported to Jari that the Clearwell spy had reported a rumour that some miners in Coleford had come into some money.

Marcellus and I spent the season investigating the recipe for Bacon’s powder. Initially, I used the Secret Secretorum to cast the horoscope for our activities and it was favourable and so we proceeded. We looked at the recipe that Bacon had discovered which was written thus,
‘Sed tamen 7 Partes Salpetrae, 5 Partes Coruli et 5 Partes Sulphuris et sic facies tonitrum et coruscationem, sic scias artificium’. This obviously meant “Take 7 parts of saltpetre, 5 parts of charcoaled hazelnut and 5 parts sulfur and that makes thunder and flash if you know the art”. Now we had all three ingredients but were not sure of the composition of the charcoal purchased from the burners locally. This gave us an opportunity to experiment as we could not change the saltpetre or the sulphur but we could experiment with the type of wood and the method to turn it into charcoal.

We started with the charcoal we had and I cast tale of the ashes on it to determine its composition, it turned out to be a mixture of oak and elm and we tried it in the proportions given, initially we had limited success as we weighed out the amounts as per the formulae, this turned out to be a mistake and after several days of scratching our heads Marcellus suggested we should try it by volume instead of weight.

This led to our first success using a metal thimble and measuring out seven thimbles of saltpetre five of charcoal and five of sulphur and mixing thoroughly till we could not distinguish individual elements. We then poured a small amount out and attempted to light it. There was a flash and a stink of rotten eggs which indicated the burning of the sulphur and we smiled at one another as we coughed mightily in our lab. Marcellus then said he did not like the smell and mayhaps we could reduce or even remove the sulphur, we tried this and although it did light and burn it seemed to take longer to catch, so perhaps the sulphur is included to enable the powder to catch fire more quickly. Now a few weeks into our season we had recorded carefully our experiments and now turned to the charcoal to determine if it made a difference, we tried without the charcoal at all but to no avail as the powder without it would not burn. We experimented with different woods and discovered that to make charcoal you had to heat the wood without it burning and so we placed it in a metal pot with a sealable lid and putting it on a moderate fire. Soon we observed smoke escaping from under the lid. The smoke easily caught fire and burned quietly with a yellow flame. We turned the pot from time to time so the wood pieces were equally exposed to the heat. As soon as the smoke stopped being flammable we took the pot from the fire and let it cool without opening the lid. This process sounds easy but took quite a time to get correct especially as Marcellus initially kept opening the pot to observe the progress. We created charcoal of three different kinds of wood Willow, Hazelnut and Oak in quite small quantities and thence mixed up our powder from each in turn. All burnt quite nicely but by putting the thimble full into a hole in the ground thence putting a metal plate on top of the whole and measuring its movement in a vertical direction it was determined that willow charcoal was the most efficacious, I wondered if this meant that Willow has the most fire in it and that might be why Oak is the more stable wood to build from for its lack of its composition. With our ideal ingredients created we then went about creating more willow charcoal and grinding it down and then mixing it with our saltpetre, which was quickly being depleted and the sulphur.

Once we had created a sizable amount we portioned it into bags and took one bag out to test on the road, we put it into a clay pot and inserted an oil-soaked rag and I cast a spell to ignite the rag from a few hundred paces away. The explosion was glorious and the amount of smoke it created made it hard to see the spot of the explosion, once the smoke had cleared we inspected the remains and discovered a significant hole and no sign of the clay pot. We smiled at each other and on the walk back to the covenant discussed what practical purposes such powder could be put too.


The sun rose as a golden orb, Gold is one of the seven metals of alchemy (gold, silver, mercury, copper, lead, iron & tin). For the alchemist, it represented the perfection of all matter on any level, including that of the mind, spirit, and soul. The symbol for gold can also be used to represent the sun in astrology.

We met at council and discussed the Coleford and Chepstow murders, Terentius brought up the fact that Coleford was the location of the witchcraft that Oratio investigated and I wondered if the imp that was encountered there might be responsible for these murders. Hypatia told us that Coleford is under the ownership of the Baron of Monmouth but I didn't know what difference that information would make.We determined to investigate Coleford and Jari said he would go in his guise as a travelling minstrel to gather information.

Hypatia reported King Theo’s wife Queen Beatrice has died during childbirth, which had devastated the King and he was in mourning, although the child is healthy and a boy who had been named Urien in memory of his grandfather. Terentius asked about the political implications of this, and Hypatia said that Beatrice had been the daughter of the King of Sicily which is an island in the Mediterranean sea, but the fact that because the grandson lived the King of Sicily will probably maintain his alliance with King Theo.

The Scottish clans’ internal fight for the Scottish crown was discussed and Hypatia stated she felt a civil war unlikely and that king Theo would travel to Scotland in the next year to discuss the crown with the various clans and help decide who would wear it.

I revealed Marcellus and my success in duplicating the results of the renowned philosopher Roger Bacon. Hypatia worried that it might be used against magi suggested that I should develop defences against such explosives. I explained that the expensive part was purchasing the saltpetre and I might ask around the Dean if anyone could gather it from caves or dig some bat guano from which the crystals could be extracted. Jari suggested that I ask Liberata about bats and their infernal nature, smirking as he did so, implying that she would know of infernal creatures, I like Jari but disparaging a maga in good standing with the order is not funny and if I ever found out he was doing it to me behind my back I would have some serious words.

We discussed the tribunal and Jari suggested as a covenant motion we ask for applications for membership of the council of Severn Temple to increase our numbers here. Jari said he would talk to Blackthorn and the Redcap about the murders to warn magi of the potential dangers. We also talked about what presentations we might see at the symposium and Terentius said my Pater’s explanation on Parma Magica appealed, Jari and Volutus said they would attend Theophilus’ talk on the limitations of magic. Hypatia stayed behind to guard the covenant in summer and studied in the library which was very nice of her to sacrifice her opportunity to learn from some of the most experienced magi of the tribunal.

We made our way via barge to Skenfrith and there we disembarked and following the mountain road ended up at the gate of Blackthorn. Over the next few days the covenant filled up with magi from all over the tribunal, obviously, all members of Blackthorn covenant attended, Galioin from Cad Gadu, All the magi from Carrion Moor and all but the Primus from Eurus Aquilae. From my Pater’s covenant of Holy Isle all but Oratio attended and all the magi from Travalga attended leaving it undefended by a magus, a strategic decision I considered unwise. Finally from outside covenant the magi Toby and Briachan attended.

Theophilus welcomed all who attended and announced the talks and workshops that would take place during the season. Arcanus would lead sessions exploring the history of magic in Celtic Britain. Theophilus’ sessions would look into the nature of limitations of magic. Archimarcus Quintilius of Tremere would lead workshops helping other magi develop better control of their magic's and increasing the ability of the magic's to overcome magical resistances. My pater Laurius taught his breakthrough in the Parma Magica and Liberata explained the intersection of the occult and Hermetic magic.

That evening I approached Laurius and discussed Archimagus Quintilius. I asked if he would be upset if I attended the Archimagus’ lectures and he told me it was not a problem and he went on to state that if he had the time he would teach me his breakthrough in a private lesson.

We met the night before the symposium lectures were due to start for a meal and a drink. Terentius informed us that his Domus Magnus Eurus Aquilae will ask to help found a covenant in the location that Narwold covenant used to stand and he wanted to get our opinion and views. Volutus said he had already been approached and would help in any way he could which was generous of him, Jari and I were in general agreeable to the notion. Jari reported that Acerbia the redcap had heard nothing about the murders but would pass the news on. Terentius said he was warned that we should contact Giants Stone covenant in Loch Legaen tribunal about a visit so they expect us when we turn up at the gate. Volutus said he had presented the spells that Terentius had scribed a few years ago for the great library and gotten four pawns of perdo and 4 pawns of animal in return. The news of the Animal vis seemed to please Jari who obviously in a cheery mood tried to provoke me by saying that I had spurned my pater for Archimagus Quintilius, but I rapidly put him right by saying I had discussed it already with Laurius and he understood my decision and would probably have done the same in my position.

Terentius, myself and a few other magi were taught by Quintilius in his workshops the precise hand gestures and voice to perfectly craft a spell, indeed he was quite nice to some of the slower students whom I thought needed a lot more help than myself. The feedback Quintilius gave was measured and he displayed a lot of patience with a certain magus whom I will not name here. Volutus attended Theophilus’ lectures on how Aristotle's philosophy and hermetic magic might interact, and by using both it might be possible to bend those limitations that hamper all our spell casting. Jari attended Arcanus series of talks where he explained about the druids and how the battle of the trees split the pagan priests into those who followed an oral tradition and those who wrote down their knowledge on paper. Interestingly enough this was about the same time as the rise of the unnamed house.

The tribunal over midsummer was opened by Praeco Arcanus welcoming Eurus Aquilae covenant to the tribunal, Primus Julius had made the journey for the tribunal and thanked the Praeco for his kind words. The Praeco then went on to talk of the fallen covenants of Narwold, Oakenvale, Blywythen, Morstow, Lear valley, Scarfell , Solis castle and the ancient ones that no longer exist such as Witherende, The Hall of the Forest and finally Swallowcliffe. It was very sobering to think of all those covenants and magi who had fallen or twighlighted, lost to the order there knowledge and wisdom forever. He went on to describe why they fell and the slow whittling of our power. Damhain-allad, the brothers in Christ, powerful spirits and attrition due to the growth of the mundane world such as what occurred to Solis castle covenant, we seem assailed in many ways but like a wounded bear we the Stonehenge tribunal will not go out without a fight and will claw our way back from the edge to victory. The praeco went on to say we were lucky to have had the royally recognised Order of Hermetic Scholars which is a good protection from viscous nobles or callous members of the church for the magi of these lands. He finished his opening speech ominously by saying that we must beware, for there are forces that can bring down covenants as displayed in Iberia.

Acerbia the recap then reported that house Mercere had investigated the Pope’s recovery and it was their belief that it was the actions of the Templars that brought him back from death. He stated that something gravely disturbing had happened in the Vatican and we should all be worried about this turn of events for it may cause the order great problems in the future. This news was obviously very worrying to our leaders in the order for Primus Bonisagus had called a grand tribunal in the summer of 1296 and its main task will be to investigate this problem with the church. Of mundane news Acerbia informed us about Queen Beatrice, and that there had been a great meeting of Parliament and this had decreed that the crown and nobility could no longer transfer large tracts of land into the Church’s hands, a move guaranteed to upset the church and its allies. Closer to home an abbey at Abingdon had burnt down, but no bodies of monks had been found and people thought that some dark mischief had been performed. This is especially worrying to us as it lies not a great distance from Severn Temple covenant.

Blackthorn reported that the Great Library was now open and thanked the covenants of Borriator, Travalga and Severn Temple for their contribution. It was also determined that it would not contain books or scrolls on mundane lore as these were adequately supplied by the many universities and other covenants around the tribunal.Borriator reported that near one of their vis sites west of their covenant, a group of monks arrested three women accused of witchcraft, who were then executed in Carlisle. This normally would not be of interest, but they suspected the three monks were members of the brothers in Christ. Primus Galioin of Cad Gadu restated the invitation to house Ex Miscellanea that they would have free use of the libraries at that domus magnus.Carrion Moor had no news to report. Eurus Aquilae announced that they were glad to be part of the tribunal and hoped to assist it to grow and become more stable. Quaesitor Phaelon of Holy Isle reported on their investigations into the unnamed house, they had found a practitioner of magic on one of the small Scottish isles and they believed he was not acting alone but the rest of the group had moved on and they had not managed to catch up with them yet. Princeps Volutus announced the changes in Mynydd Merthyn and how dangerous it had become and he asked if other sites in the tribunal had also had a resurgence in magical power, Primus Galioin in response said that the forest around Cad Gadu had grown in magical power and that there had been sightings of magical animals including a white hind in the woods. Carrion moor replied that near a vis site on the river Tor a new magical regio had appeared. Primus Julius asked were the Fae more powerful and Theophilus suggested that there might be evidence to support that statement. Liberata asked what might be the cause of this magical growth, she aimed this question quite pointedly at the two Bonisagi in the room and they looked at each other for a few seconds and then Volutus said that we had not investigated Mynydd Merthen yet but it might be due to a powerful creature taking up home in the regio. Finally Ydenia the Verditius offered to take on commissions, that she specialised in illusion magic's and would be able to offer cheaper rates if the customer was to allow experimentation in the creation of the device.

The next day primus Julius proposed that Narwold be refounded and that Eurus Aquilae would sponsor it. This move worried me a little as the new covenant would owe a debt of gratitude towards the sponsor covenant and I voiced my concerns, Initially Julius tried to belittle my question by claiming we should not worry about goodwill but soon realised my point and became serious again and stated that all would be welcome to contribute and thus neutralize this worry.
The tribunal debated this for a short while and then voted on the matter, the vote passed by a healthy margin and it will be good to see Narwold rise up again.

The final act of the tribunal was for us all to pay our five pawns of vis as tithe and I donated five pawns of ignem towards the coffers.

The Symposium took up the rest of the season and at the end, we returned to Severn Temple with new ideas and techniques fresh in our minds.


Sulfur is one of the three heavenly substances (sulfur, mercury & salt). We had a good supply of it from the vent where we collect the Ignem vis from but we must be careful not to take too much in case of damaging our vis site.

Hypatia asked if all went well at the symposium and Volutus reported to her all that had occurred. She reported that all was quiet while we were away which was just as well for with just Hypatia to defend it, the covenant could have been at risk. Jari discussed his willingness to go to Coleford to further the investigation of the random murders. I had the excitement of extracting Vim vis for my longevity potion ahead of me , and although it will familiarise me more with my unusual lab equipment I still find the task boring, and look forward to the day when my arts are more useful to the covenant than just a vis cow to milk once a year.

Jari went to Coleford with his consors Sigurd and Erik. The journey there was quick and uneventful and once there they headed for the tavern to ply the trades of minstrel and barber. In the tavern, Jari noticed that some of the miners had extra cash and determined to question them using the device the inquisitor’s purse which enabled him to cast pose the silent question on them. It became apparent through the use of the device that they had uncovered a treasure trove, it had contained bones. A further question discovered that one of the murderers called Athelard of Monmouth was part of their group. With this information, Jari returned to the covenant and informed us of his findings at an informal council. I suggested getting the bones to determine if we might be able to destroy the spirit associated with them and Jari agreed to try to get them or at least investigate there burial site. Terentius travelled down to Coleford in wolf form with Jari providing direction invisibly using the Pallium Nubes and discovered a magical aurae near the burial site.

The red cap Acerbia arrived later in the season and asked to see Princeps Volutus, the redcap and Volutus talked in the great hall and was informed that the senor redcap at Giants Stone covenant would not be present when Volutus visited due to King Theo’s visit to Scotland and having to find out the news of those important meetings but they would be greeted by an Ex Miscellanean magus would give people hospitality.


The snow fell early and cooled the covenant, forcing me to put more logs on the fire, with it roaring in my grate I was reminded of Heraclitus of Ephesus, he regarded the soul as being a mixture of fire and water, with fire being the more noble part and water the ignoble aspect. He believed the goal of the soul is to be rid of water and become pure fire: the dry soul is the best and it is worldly pleasures that make the soul "moist".

We met and discussed the various affairs of the covenant. King Theo would be travelling to Scotland in the next year to choose the victor in the secession crisis they find themselves in. He would be in Scotland for most of the summer, meeting the various factions and trying to come up with a compromise all could find acceptable, With Scotland at peace and owing King Theo a favour, it would be unlikely that York could ally with them and thence raise an army against King Theo. Hypatia informed her it was her plan to travel with her brother and I asked if she would be safe north of the border. She responded that mundanely she would be slightly more at risk but that magically she would be as safe as if she was in London. I pointed out to her that the Templars had free passage in Scotland but they did not in England and therefore more able to attempt an assassination which she acknowledged as a fair point. She went on to tel Volutus and Terentius that one of the Kings spies, a man called Mcdonald Sinclair would be waiting in the area of Giants Stone to assist Terentius in his scouting of Roxburgh castle.
Jari discussed his findings of the mystery of the murders and Volutus posed the idea that it might be a cursed dagger causing all these incidents as all three attacks were stabbings, which was very insightful as will be revealed later. Jari said he might go back to Coleford to see if a dagger was found, but he was obviously in two minds as his travelling minstrel persona would not normally return so soon after his last visit. I offered to go to Coleford with a backstory of being an alchemist from the university after unusual ores and a source of saltpetre. Hypatia stated she would study the hermetic arts for a second season which apparently was very unusual as her time was often taken up with her mundane duties. Terentius stated that he would put the whispering winds into the purse to make it more useful as a spying device. Terentius and Jari said before they would start their seasons activities however they would go to Abingdon abbey to investigate the mysterious disappearance of the monks in the fire. Jari stated that after his investigation of Abingdon abbey he would be reading about the church in the library, which surprised me as I thought being a pagan and a Merinitian would mean he would want little to do with the church but mayhaps he was researching his enemies ways, which is a valid strategic move in my opinion.

Marcellus, Arnulph and I travelled to Lydney and thence onward to Coleford by barge which I instructed to wait at the dock for us. We then hastened up the slope to the village itself and ensconced ourselves in the tavern for some warmth and victuals. I had been shown the faces of the men I was looking for by Jari using a simple Creo Imagonem spell but they were not present so we waited, whilst that happened I talked to a pair of miners who seemed to be nursing their drinks, I asked if they knew of any caves in the area that might contain the droppings of bats. They were confused at first but when I mentioned payment they rapidly forgot their doubts and quickly agreed to go forth and dig us up some guano. We waited at the tavern and myself and Marcellus had an interesting discussion on the best method of extraction of the saltpetre from the excrement. The men returned some hours later with some small sacks and I paid them the agreed sum of a silver penny each, I instructed Arnulph to deposit our smelly treasure in the barge and return. Later in the evening, the Tavern filled up with miners and in the smoky hubbub, I did not see the men we were looking for. The tavern keeper went out of his way to make us comfortable for the night and the next day I asked if he could supply me with a guide to take me to the mining camps so I could ask about unusual ores the miners might have found, what I really wanted was to be taken to the south to the miners who uncovered the trove and question them using the Inquisitors purse. Eventually, we talked to the men I was after and asking them questions via the device I discovered that they had found some old silver but of good quantity, a belt and a band and a dagger made of good bronze with a small gem in its pommel. Athelard in the split of the trove took the dagger with the intention of selling it in Monmouth for some silver. We stayed for another night and Osbert successfully obtained more guano for me and I paid him his due. I told him I would return in the spring or summer next year if the production of saltpetre was successful, to establish a permanent trade deal with him and he stated that he knew of deeper caves where there might be a lot more of the fetid substance.

We returned to the covenant and at dinner, as all were present, exchanged what information we had found out. Jari and Terentius had been successful and had discovered that at Abingdon a great fire had consumed all but that the outer gate which had been barred from within. There was a second magnitude infernal aura outside the abbey but within it rose to the third magnitude. As they approached the most burnt area near the chapel door the flame of Myddyn spluttered and looking with the magic's they had available they noticed a regio in the doorway. Not wishing to explore further without sharing their findings or assistance they retreated to the covenant. We discussed continuing the cursed dagger investigation by going to Chepstow and talking with the Son of the sergeant which will be done in the spring. During the meal, Volutus told me about another alchemist in South Wales called Tewdric who specialised in potions and might have had some ingredients for my longevity potion, and I stated I would send a missive via the redcap the next time one arrived at Severn Temple covenant.

Later that season when the cold was almost at its highest we received word from our spymaster Lucky that he had had some confusing reports but after allocating resources to investigate he had discovered that a farmer had been slain on the road from Chepstow to Newport several months ago and it appeared that the trail of the dagger might have gone cold, Lucky was instructed to keep an ear open for events in the Welsh ports where he has several spies of unusual happenings and murders in case we might be able to pick up the trail of the dagger once more.

The season passed peacefully and I extracted Vim vis for the covenant. I had now found a use for the glass alembic with the curled pipe coming from it. If you use water to cool the spiral section, the distillation and hence production of vis was increased by a fraction of three in one hundred which might not sound much but if I extract vis for the rest of my life it will add up to a significant quantity.